What Do You Do With A Pirate Server?

As reported over at WoW.com WoW Insider, Blizzard won its lawsuit against Alyson Reeves the principle Scape Gaming, who was making money by running her own, for profit, pirate World of Warcraft server.

The judgment, as it was laid down on August 10th, requires Alyson Reeves to pay:

Which all adds up to just over $88.6 million.

That is a lot of dough, Jack!


First, there is a legal team that wishes they were working on a contingent basis.

Or maybe not.

It isn’t like Blizzard is going to be able to collect $88.6 million from an individual.  But with only $63K in legal fees over the course of nearly a year, that is a nice legal cost to judgment ratio.  That is nearly $1,400 in judgment for every dollar spent on legal fees.

Second, there is the disgorged profits.  That means that they proved (via PayPal according to Gamasutra) that Alyson Reeves made about $3 million running a pirate/private WoW server.

That is some nice scratch.

She apparently went where Blizzard fears to tread and setup a microtransactions market.  It is not clear exactly what she was selling, but I am going to guess that if you have the chutzpah to steal Blizzard’s product, selling items or perhaps a little in-game gold isn’t going to be a huge hurdle for you.

Third, there is the statutory damages.  This is the punishment part of the ruling.  After taking away any profits and compensating the other legal team for their time, they still get to hit you with a stick. And while you might deserve to be hit, $85.7 million makes for a hell of a big stick.

Finally, there is the question of what happens now?

What do you do if you are Blizzard?

There is no way they will be able to collect the whole judgment.

Do you come to an agreement?  Do you set up a payment plan?  Do you just garnish Alyson’s earnings for the rest of her life?  Or do you just sell the settlement to the meanest collection agency you can find and let somebody else sort it out?

As for Alyson Reeves, my advice is to just write out a check for $200,000 and declare that as the full settlement.  It didn’t work for Bobby the Tick either, but I bet it would give somebody a laugh.

5 thoughts on “What Do You Do With A Pirate Server?

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  2. Jason

    Easier to take option 4: File Bankruptcy. She’ll keep most of her assets; they can’t force her to liquidate her house or a single vehicle. She’ll go on working a regular job, and will hopefully learn a lesson in all of this. As for Blizzard, they’ll get far, far less than what the judgement was for and life will go on.


  3. Tesh

    “She apparently went where Blizzard fears to tread and setup a microtransactions market.”

    That’s the interesting part to me. Not that I condone her actions, because I don’t, but it’s an interesting case study in monetizing the thing. I’ve argued that Blizzard should make the old world free to play with microtransactions for a while now. With Cataclysm on the horizon, it would be interesting to see what sort of demand might exist for “classic” servers that have *only* vanilla WoW frozen in its last iteration, built on a microtransaction model.

    Yeah, I know it’s not likely, but it’s one of those abstract things I wonder about now and then. Imagine the kerfluffle WoW would make if it entered the market that DDO and soon LOTRO and EQX are trying to dominate.


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